The Hoka Speedgoat is a lightweight trail running shoe that offers superior comfort and grip on technical trails. I tested this shoe and was very impressed. Read my performance review of this technical trail running shoe
Many of my running and hiking friends have raved about the comfort of Hoka One One trail running shoes. I had never tried them, but decided to give the Hoka Speedgoat a shot after positive feedback from a friend who owned a pair. The Hoka Speedgoat is a technical trail runner that is designed to perform well on varied, rugged terrain. I would like to go over the pros and cons of the shoe based on my experience with them.
You will notice right off that the shoe is very comfortable. The Hoka Speedgoat is designed with a beefy EVA midsole. My very first run in these shoes was a 13 miler with a lot of rocks and very steep trails. I was worried about getting a blister trying to break them in with a long run, but the Speedgoats did very well. I didn't feel the rocks near as much and the shoes were very comfortable despite checking in at a very light 9.7 ounces.
I was looking for a technical trail running shoe that would give me a lot of traction, and the Hoka Speedgoat did very well. It is designed with 4mm Libram lugs on the outsole. When you look at it the outsole, it doesn't appear very aggressive. Considering how light the shoe is, the traction was superb. I felt very light on my feet and didn't waste a lot of effort on looser sections of trail. I also found that I felt more in control on technical descents.
There is a fine line between comfort and weight with technical trail running shoes. The Hoka Speedgoat is the lightest pair I have owned, and comfort is not sacrificed for the sake of weight savings. The midsole is very beefy and sits higher off the ground than most other trail running shoes, although not as high as other Hoka's. I think some runners find it difficult to adjust to their foot being so high off the ground with Hokas, and I found that this shoe was easy to adjust to.
One of the cons that I would like to mention is stability. With being so high off the ground, I felt like it was easier to roll my ankle. I actually did it once on my very first run in them, but have since not done so. If you have weak ankles and are prone to sprains, these shoes might not be for you. Another con that the reviewer mentions in the You Tube video above is the mesh fabric will likely let debris in easier. I have yet to run in these shoes in muddy conditions, but I haven't had any issues with getting debris in them so far. The last con is they are narrow, which is the case on many of the Hoka models. If you have a wide foot, you might want to look elsewhere
Overall I am very pleased with the performance of the Hoka Speedgoat trail running shoe. They make you feel light on your feet and perform very well in rugged, steep terrain where traction is very important. They would also do well as a racing shoe in trail races. There are many hard core ultra runners who endorse this shoe, including well known ultra athlete Karl Meltzer. I recommend these shoes for anyone who is looking for comfort without sacrificing weight.
I have put on about 400 miles on the shoe and the tread has held up quite nicely. I have been in snow, mud, and very technical, rough terrain. The shoes have performed to my satisfaction, although if you have problems with rolling your ankles, you may want to find a shoe with a lower center of gravity. The Hoka's are higher off the ground than a typical trail running shoe, although the Speedgoat is easier to adjust to than some of the other Hoka models. You will enjoy the comfort of the Speedgoat!